Monday, March 21, 2016

MR Doom (2005 movie)

Hell breaks loose... is the tagline they used for this film.

But, I mean, Hell wasn't even in the film!!!

Hell awaits your soul, will you dare face more id Software reviews through the following links?

Movie: Doom (2005) alternatively known as Doom (film)
Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak 
Release date 2005
Genre Scifi/Action film
Country USA/UK/Czech Republic/Germany

The original DOOM was a pioneer in gaming, actually not the first proper FPS game (that honor actually goes to its "daddy" Wolfenstein 3D) but certainly the game that popularized and established the genre.

A cult icon in the medium. It comes without saying of course Hollywood would want to try cashing in on that popularity sooner or later. And after the likes of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and the Resident Evil movie series proving there was money to be made several studios went on acquiring all sorts of licenses all the way through the mid-90s to the early 2000s.

Doom was released in 2005. It's a science-fiction action film directed by Polish filmmaer Andrzej Bartkowiak, and written by David Callaham and Wesley Strick, for Universal Pictures.

This movie adaptation is actually more or less based on the tense horror game Doom 3 rather than the 1993 classic fast-paced action classic and its follow-up. In fact this entire film production was finally greenlighted and launched thanks to the immense success of the third game.

Bartkowiak made a name for himself with the martial-arts film Romeo Must Die starring Jet Li, which was a huge success at the box office. But despite a promising start in his career, it's the same guy that would on direct the direct-to-video-quality (but theatrically released, somehow) Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li right after Doom. So you know we're off to a great start here... Sigh..

On the surface, the plot actually seems to follow the story of the games pretty closely. At the very least, that of Doom 3's.

Our story is set in the year 2046. It all begins with a distress call sent from a research facility on  Mars. There's some kind of attack. And the last surviving scientist from the crew, a certain Dr. Carmack (haha, get it? GET IT??) is able to send a message before all communications go down.

So of course a group of new space marine recruits are sent to investigate the situation. They're under the orders of this sergeant they call "Sarge". They go through some annoyingly elaborated teleporter for some reason and finally can go search, salvage and rescue. Our "Doom guy" is given the very cheesy name of John Grimm, aka "Reaper", here. 'Reaper wants to find his missing sister who also happens to be a scientist there, Dr. Samantha Grimm.

They soon learn there was a dig site beneath the labs, they found bodies of some ancient civilization that actually lived on Mars. And they were genetically similar to us.. only "enhanced".

As the search progresses, they encounter some strange creatures - let's call them "zombies". They thought it was some kinda attack but instead monsters are overrunning the place. But the monsters seem to possess human organs?? They quickly discover human corpses turn into zombies, who then turn into these "Hellish" creatures.

All the monsters are in fact the other missing humans that mutated through this missing 24th "Martian chromosome". And possessing that extra chromosome turn us into them. Well, not everyone exactly. Some people actual possess the ability to reach the full potential of the human specie... if you have "good" DNA. No kidding.

The marines are overwhelmed by a horde of zombies that trap them down as they're about to make the exit.

Finally, to make the story short, Sarge is infected and turns into this berserker monster while Reaper is injected with C25 instead, enhancing him for a short burst of time (literally a "quad damage" power-up from the games, if you will). We get treated to the infamously ridiculous FPS sequence and then it's the final boss fight against Sarge...!

Somehow, for some reason, Hollywood keeps trying to turn fighting games and shooters into hour-long films. Wouldn't it make more sense to adapt, oh, I don't know, adventure games instead? Well, it's not like it actually even matters at the end of day.

How was this thing even greenlighted in the first place?

Not only is the film bland, dumb and generic for a movie-going audience but it was also pretty bad and insulting for the fans. Some elements are there, but it's like very little effort was put into it. It feels like the bare minimum was made so Universal could get their money back. It's like a big budget B-movie, or some direct-to-video production.

And yet, all things considered the film even stars a fairly decent cast for what a Doom adaptation could ever wish to be. The film stars a then-relatively unknown Karl Urban, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Rosamund Pike and Raz Adoti. Compared to the Resident Evil films, it's like a big budget AAA Hollywood production.

But the problem mostly lies in the script (and the direction). Nothing makes much sense. Somehow the main creatures in this film turn out to be simply zombies, while the actual monsters from game are shoved aside for budgetary reasons... And, I mean, Hell isn't even in the story and completely missing from the plot! Fighting Demons from Hell is basically the entire pitch of Doom. I mean "Doom", isn't the title a clue for these producers? Throwing that away.. why do the zombies turn into these type of monsters? And why does everybody turn into a different monster? Things get insanely stupid when this Marcus Pinzerowski nicknamed Pinky through all the story is transformed into a pinky demon "just because"!

The Doom movie is the product of a fairly long and elaborate process. Plans for a Doom live-action film had been going on for quite a while in Hollywood. The film went through all sorts of possible distributors out there, from Columbia Pictures to Warner Bros, before ending back into the hands of Unicersal Pictures. And they clearly had no idea what to do with the film.

Money was there. So they had to make it. But they trying producing the film as cheap as possible. Which explains why the film ended being co-production between the United States, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Germany. (Thankfully, no Uwe Boll in the production, for once.)

And let's be honest, the biggest "highlight" and most memorable thing about this entire mess is the first person sequence. It's actually well done, don't mistake me, but aside from that and the overall appearance of the pinky demon (which is basically the Doom 3 Demon design), it's boring cliché of a film. The FPS scene is a fun gimmick. It's a clear nod and tribute to the original granddaddy of the genre, but as a piece of film it's more like watching someone play than getting into the shoes of the hero.

We never get to clearly see or understand much about the monsters. It's boring.

What's worse is that they kept promising this would be the best video game adaptation ever made, the director kept mentioning how all game adaptations had been awful "up to this point" (well, it didn't get any better since then..).  You could have guessed this was all talk and things weren't that great when they started focusing on the first person perspective sequence along, and using it for the entire marketing campaign.

Instead what we have is absolutely no reference to Hell!! Not even some alternate dimension, nothing. Just mutations from the "24th chromosome" like it's any better. I would have even enjoyed aliens. Instead it's former humans turned into monsters, no longer demons from Hell. A few lines are thrown as nods to Hell in the  game, but it's all simply some kind of experiment gone wrong. Which made the film just another zombie movie. The worst part is that much of the promotional material kept it vague...

We get to see a couple of classic Doom elements such as the UAC log, the BFG, a chaingun or even the chainsaw but none really end up used in the film, I mean they barely fire any shots of the BFG!! The monsters lost all of their iconic attacks for just quick close-up attacks, since they all have to basically act like zombies instead. And all zombies are unarmed unlike in the games while we even get an Hell Knight wielding a chainsaw to make up for the lack of Hellfire. For fans, it's a disappointment. Let's not even mention the fact some of the more iconic monsters such as the Cyberdemon are never heard from.

The best aspect of the entire film are some of the monster effects. A mix of CGi and old school prosthetics, the director didn't want to rely on CGi too much. Stan Winston's Creature Shop worked on Doom, and for that reason that part of the film looks decent.

The real issue I have with the film is that it absolutely didn't keep any part of what made Doom unique. And no, the FPS scene doesn't count. There's been countless FPS games since then and it's just a quick 5-minute sequence. You take that out and you simply have a fairly generic scifi/action film. It's just Doom in name only, it didn't capture any of the story, visuals nor even the tense or scary atmosphere from either series of Doom games.

When they first showed that teaser back at Quakecon the film looked so promising.. It even had a faithful recreation of a Pinky Demon! (Although I remember thinking back why it had wheels for legs? I should have known something fishy was going on...)

And the film is not even consistent with its own rules since this whole 24th chromosome story can turn people into both monster or give them superpowers depending if your genetics intend you to be "good" or "evil". This is in no way any less silly an idea than an invasion from Hell on Mars!

All we are left with us a film that is basically Paul Anderson's Resident Evil, in space!

The direction is really bad, with bad lighting and acting. It just lacks any sense of fun, some humor would have really helped it. The references are cute but serve no purpose in the story (the BFG, or "Bio Force Gun v3.14", Sarge even gets to say "that's a big fucking gun", we even have a Dr. Carmack and Dr. Willits named after John Carmack and Tim Willits, creators from id Software).

And finally the music is just awful. I can't believe we had a far more big budget blockbuster musical score in Doom 3. Despite being composed by talented musician Clint Mansell (who scored films such as Smokin' Aces, Requiem for a Dream, or even Black Swan). The score is forgettable, a far cry from what games like Doom 3 itself did much better with a cinematic atmosphere. There's also a remix of the Nine Inch Nails song "You Know What You Are?".

Overall, Doom is bad. It's just bad, Avoid It At All Cost! It's not even a fun mindless action film, it's just a poorly written excuse of a boring action film. Like a big budget B-movie. It's really rough. I would say, it's not as bad as some early 1990s video game movie adaptation but it's not that great either. At the end of the day, it's just a sub-par Aliens ripoff.

Just thinking about this movie makes me sad...

While most people can still enjoy a few odd game-to-film adaptations like Resident Evil or Silent Hill, this one's just bad in comparison.

If feels lazy. Like there's barely any effort put into - aside from a few good creature designs. Te story and the characters are bad. The effects are cheesy. The direction is awful. It's so dull and completely inaccurate. There's basically no gore, it's also not even fun! All the important details of the franchise are missing, no Hell, no violence, no sense of overwhelming odds. It's just Doom in name only.

Without Hell, a key element from the games, it's missing the most "original" aspect of the Doom franchise and simply turns this into another generic action scifi film in space. It's closer to Resident Evil than Doom. And the iconic first person sequence that made people talk so much about the film doesn't really save the whole thing. It didn't really work much in the film, for me. This is supposed to be a film, not a game. It's just not the same. All in all, it's a fairly generic and forgettable film. Kind of like an Uwe Boll adaption, only slightly better put together.

The best part of the entire film is that the original DVD release of the film contained a demo of the original Xbox Doom 3 port!

Originally there were plans for a movie sequel if this was successful. Thankfully the film bombed, it was a huge flop that barely made any money internationally, and didn't even make its budget back.

I give it:
0.5 / 3 UFOs!

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